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Mama Anna

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Everything posted by Mama Anna

  1. This is late, but just in case the question is still up, we made the decision to hold our youngest dd back in Logic Stage. She's young for her grade and gifted. However, she's been diagnosed with HFA as well as ADD-Inattentive. Her processing speed is low and the work load of 6th grade was taking her so long most days . . . ! What we decided to do was basically just stretch out 6th and 7th grade to cover 3 years, thereby allowing her time to develop socially, mentally, and intellectually in hopes that she'll be better prepared to handle Algebra I, more intensive reading, and larger writing assignments when 8th grade finally rolls around. She's not repeating anything - just moving more slowly through her subjects. So far, things are going well. It'll be odd with her extra-curricular activities, switching grades in the middle of the school year, but she only has a couple and if they don't ask, I won't make a big deal of it. 😉 HTH! Mama Anna (Note: signature is pretty out of date.)
  2. I wasn't able to post this reply before when I tried, but I'm going to try again. Thanks again for your advice. I found the appointment to be much like y'all thought: talking through difficulties, working on EF coping strategies, etc. I think any assessments will need to wait until we can get the evaluation scheduled. Happily, Dd11 seemed to relate well to the counselor. She mentioned wanting to work on some specific skills when we were discussing the appointment while on the way home. Yay!! Very relieved, Mama Anna
  3. Thanks to all of you who have replied! Peter Pan, I'm not concerned about ASD (Dd8 is on the spectrum and also diagnosed with ADHD, so I have a bit of an idea of what that looks like) because there are no difficulties relating to others emotionally or being flexible with routine, possessions, etc. It's just that . . . between her continual search for sensory feedback, her marvelous creativity, and her continual ability to forget/not hear/not do stuff/get distracted - is it really possible that ALL this is just ADHD with a smattering of Proprioceptive Disorder? Is Proprioceptive Disorder typically comorbid with ADHD, or is it in another can of worms that we need to open up and explore? Retained reflexes: What is it all about? I've heard about them and tried reading up on them, but the site I found didn't explain much except that they were incredibly important and dealing with them could change your child's whole life, etc., etc.. Could you suggest a better one? One that details the research behind them and how they work? Lecka; She's not stellar at ballet, but she works hard and enjoys pushing herself at it. She's practiced bouncing a superball off the floor and catching it in her hand until she's pretty good at it (It took her several months of practice), but she's not good at catching a volleyball if you toss it to her. At all. On the other hand, she loves handstitching and developed good fine motor skills earlier than our other girls. Of course, she's always had a tendency to accidentally break things - it's always been hard for her to tell "how hard is too hard." Her handwriting isn't great, but it's legible. She hates the act of writing, though, and I started her on learning to type this last year. Basically, fine motor skills are excellent on anything in arts or crafts, but hard for her in schoolwork - unless I incorporate drawing diagrams/pictures/doing projects, etc. (Which I do. Often.) She takes piano from me and struggles with it, but I can see some progress in her ability to play with hands together/opposite. Basically, I've got a kid who has struggles but who is bright, persistent, and stubborn enough to cope with some of her struggles, leaving me uncertain as to exactly where they are and what's wrong. We've been tweaking things, making allowances, trying to think outside the box, etc., for years, but our home-grown stuff isn't sufficient now that puberty is effecting everything. Thanks for your thoughts on Brain Balance, etc. I'd love to get some more OT for her (she had a few sessions after her PD diagnosis), but I'm unsure how to do that in our present environment. Thanks also for giving an idea of what the appointment will be like. You guys are great!! Mama Anna
  4. Background: I've posted a couple times about my two youngest daughters and their special needs. After going through the process of getting the 8yo dd evaluated and diagnosed, I decided to take the 11 yo dd in for diagnosis, too, as her ADHD symptoms have gotten worse with puberty. The ped looked at 1 1/2 pages of assessment forms from me and dd's ballet teacher and said, "Yes, it looks like she has ADHD Inattentive-type. I suggest we begin with a 5-mg dose/day of meds." I back-pedaled a bit, mentioning that I was hoping for a referral for a full evaluation and was told, "Well, that will take quite a while because the system is backed up. If you'd like counseling, I can give you a list of counselors in the area." I stuck with my request for a full evaluation because dd has previously been diagnosed with a proprioceptive disorder and it seems to me that there might be more than ADHD going on. The ped gave me a referral and we had a good discussion of how getting a prescription would work in case we change our minds about the meds, then parting on excellent terms. Three weeks later, I got the intake call from the nearby Children's Hospital Neuro-psychology department and they repeated the ped's warning about an evaluation taking a long time to get. However, they offered me counseling for dd11 while we're waiting for the full evaluation. Dd11 has increasing EF difficulties (which are making life difficult for her), so I accepted. Her intake appointment is next Tuesday. Questions: 1. What should I expect out of this counseling? I've told dd11 that it's likely to be someone saying, "What's the problem? Hmm . . . Well, have you tried this strategy? Try it out for a few days, then let me know how it works." Is that accurate? 2. When dd8 was diagnosed with ADHD, the evaluator told me that a positive diagnosis of ADHD can be made when the Working Memory and Processing Speed scores are significantly below the total IQ score. I've come across programs that promise to help those areas (Notably, Brain Balance Centers and Little Giant Steps). These programs are high-investment/cost and I don't know how useful they really are in the long run, which means that dh is reluctant to commit. Will we be likely to run into similar therapy options with a counselor in a pediatric neuro-psychology department? (In other words, try something out, see what works and what doesn't, and then invest in a program with more confidence?) 3. Can anyone give me specific ideas of questions to ask, subjects to address, etc. in the intake appointment? I guess I'm just wishing for some IRL friends to tell me they have my back and are with me . . . it's been slow getting to know the HS community since we moved here 2 years ago. :) TIA!! Mama Anna
  5. We were finally able to get through the evaluation process and get diagnoses! (So happy!) Dd8 is 2e: Gifted, with HFA and ADHD (Combined Type). These agree with what I've been finding in my own research, so I think they are accurate. We should soon be receiving a call for an intake appointment with a therapist. I find myself reacting in several ways: I feel happy that my gut feeling of something being wrong has been vindicated - in spite of the fact that my brother-the-psychologist stated that dd8 was "probably fine." I feel hopeful that homeschool is possible - and that it can be more than just surviving drudgery. We were told that, given her age and her diagnoses, it's likely that she'll be able to learn enough explicit social skills to be able to blend into the world fairly well as an adult. The fellow who worked with her for the evaluation is an autism specialist. I'm not sure he's used to working with 2e kids because he stressed several times that her IQ meant that she "has the world before her," as if a high IQ can solve everything and make any career choice a great idea, regardless of strengths or weaknesses. He also stressed several times that we ought to consider putting her in a B&M Gifted and Talented program for socialization and instruction. "After all, teachers go to school an extra year or so to learn how to teach gifted kids" and "being both mother and teacher is asking a lot of you." Overall, he generally seemed to be keeping his bias for public school under wraps, but it would occasionally pop up. I'm hoping the therapist will be more understanding about homeschooling. I'm planning to order several books today, a couple of which were suggested by the evaluator. I also need to find small, short social activities for dd8 in areas of her strengths. (I realized that I've been censoring her social involvement since our interstate move, probably because of a subconscious desire to avoid the awkwardness that inevitably ensues and which will likely be even more pronounced here where people haven't known her since infancy.) We're trying a new strategy for school work, too - short, very focused bursts on subjects that she's struggled with in the past, with breaks in between. Simply having anything proactive to do - and feel it's justified due to an actual diagnosis - makes school better at the moment! Thoroughly enjoying this bit of sunlight, Mama Anna
  6. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing that video! Some things about my dd8 make so much more sense now! And this was a particularly good day for me to watch it as my mil added her 2 cents regarding dd8; "It's just her personal idiosyncrasies - there's nothing actually wrong." <sigh> That was an hour and six minutes that were well spent. Thanks! Mama Anna
  7. Thanks! I see that the bolded text above does need to be my chief goal. I have already written up a few pages that outline my concerns in general and I was thinking it would be a good idea to send a copy them in with the paperwork. If I can tweak things well enough to communicate what the evaluator needs to know . . . (It may help that it's a neuro-psych instead of public school personnel.) Thanks to everyone who chimed in - I really appreciate the knowledge base of these forums!! Mama Anna
  8. I'm starting a new thread on this just in case others are in the same place. I received the packet of stuff I'm supposed to fill out and send back in before 8-year-old dd's initial eval. (In late December. <sigh>) They want to know how she's doing in various school subjects compared to her grade. How do I judge that? We work on all the subjects that they ask about, so that part is fine. However, I don't have a standard of comparison for her; her sisters were beyond where she is now when they were her age, but they're not "average." My sense is that she's at or near grade level in everything but handwriting stamina - because she has continual and generally intense one-on-one support and review, etc, in her hs experience. If she didn't have it, I'm dead certain she wouldn't be where she is in spite of the fact that (I think) she's 2e. Do I try to explain this in the margin of the paperwork? Do I try to research and compare her to some internet-discovered grade norm? Do I note down my sense of where she is due to my personal expectations for subjects and abilities? For those of you who have BTDT, what should I do? TIA! Mama Anna
  9. Thanks again for your advice. I'm spending time reading through various links, etc. I wanted to clarify our situation a little because I'm afraid I've given an incorrect impression. We have three daughters: dd 14: Moderately gifted, especially in LA. Her social abilities have been a concern since our move a little over a year ago, but she now has at least two recurring settings where she seems to feel comfortable and is (according to what we hear from her) able to talk with peers easily. School for her is only complicated by trying to keep her challenged without overdoing it. dd 11: Likely moderately gifted, very creative. She was diagnosed with Proprioceptive Disorder about 3 years ago or so. I think she shows symptoms of ADHD, specifically a tendency to move/hum/etc. ceaselessly, an ability to become very focused on something she enjoys doing, and an occasional difficulty in focusing that drives her to tears. Her gross motor skills are low, but her fine motor skills have always been impressive. She is the most outgoing person in the family, is generous to a fault, and very empathetic. She's one of those people who pick up something to fiddle with and end up with a 3-D work of art. I read over a list of DSM4 Diagnostic Criteria for Autism and she really doesn't fit any of them. Difficulties for her in school are that she resists writing (but is willing if I keep my requests reasonable), and finds algebraic math/critical thinking very challenging due to her focus issues. She'll tell me, "I can't focus - I can't focus!!" and then, with hormones involved, often dissolve into tears. This hasn't been as bad during this school year yet, but it was almost daily at the end of last year. I spoke to my brother (the psychology professor) about it because I thought meds might be our only option to help. dd 8: Challenging. Very challenging. Late walker. Late talker, with odd vocal intonations and hard-to-understand speech. (In spite of having no ear infections as an infant.) Very strong-willed, used to bully her older sisters when they didn't give in to her, especially around ages 2 to 6 or so. Very low frustration threshold, often frustrated with herself. Somewhat perfectionistic, wants to hold herself to her sisters' levels of ability. Her gross and fine motor skills are at least somewhat delayed. Loves to talk and will talk ceaselessly, becoming annoyed at "interruptions" - when her sisters or parents want to get a word in edge-wise after 5 minutes or so. She has a somewhat advanced vocabulary. Very good at telling others what to do, and quite good at solving problems in the family - if a rather untactful in the process. In school, writing tires her out - as in a line of cursive, with pencil pressed hard against paper, will exhaust her over the course of the 5 to 15 (or more) minutes it takes. She often has difficulty formulating what she wants to say in a history or science narration - and since I usually scribe for her still, that part doesn't involve the writing. She's just turned onto reading in the past 6 months or so and is beginning to work through easy chapter books on her own, although I can tell that she guesses often. Her spelling could be considered grade-level (We use Spelling Power and she tested into level C this year.) She doesn't seem to have difficulty with arithmetic concepts, but the facts are a challenge. Grammar makes sense to her, she only struggles with written exercises because of the writing. School is difficult because she so often gets frustrated and "melts" off her chair onto the floor. When she's not frustrated, she's a bright, energetic child (loves to dance) who is trying hard on the social niceties that we've worked on within the family. Socially, she's very intense or else completely shy and doesn't have very many friendships. Our neighbor's grandson comes over occasionally and they seem to do well together (same age), but in a group she doesn't do so well. Our homeschool isn't horrible. It can be intensely stressful, especially when both youngers are having difficulty at the same time and we've got a time limit on us due to outside activities. However, we tend to fuel school with humor and add chocolate for lubrication as needed. My personal troubles are because gently talking someone out of a fit of tears or off the floor from a "melt" is not my natural reaction and I find it exhausting. It's good for me, though; character development. :) There have been times when it's seemed that I won't stay sane if I have to keep "pushing" dd8 through school every. single. day. We've considered putting her in public school, but I'm not convinced that they would have the energy or time to keep her going. I fear they would label her, give her only as much input as she can handle output, and all the social stuff would only get worse. This means that it's me. Which can look like DOOM on days when depression is toying with me, you know? I've tried to consider dd8 as simply on the edge of "normal" for years, partially because I didn't want people nosing around our homeschool (that was in a state where we weren't required by law to notify and therefore hadn't) and partially because I didn't want to be the mom to insist that all my children must be "special." Except that now I think they might actually be . . . Part of my difficulty is that I have no reference for what "normal" actually is. I come from a weird family and I married a weird guy. We're not very close to the people in his family who might actually be "normal," and I seriously don't know that anyone in my family is. I find myself thinking, "Well, it's understandable . . . I can see this or that tendency coming from . . . " until a kid does something that my mind just can't rationalize as "normal" anymore, even by our weird standards. Then I think of seeking an expert opinion. Sorry. That was a lot. But you all are offering valuable insights and I want to make sure that you have a better handle on my perception of what's going on. Any further insights? I've been thinking APD for dd8, but what else should I investigate in order to be ready to make specific requests for evaluations? TIA, Mama Anna
  10. I appreciate your encouragement. I have a brother who is a psychology professor at a university in another state. I approached him during a visit last July 4th about getting our 2nd daughter evaluated for ADHD. His reply was that 1) He didn't see anything in her behavior to suggest such a diagnosis and 2) if I really wanted to go ahead and get her evaluated anyway, I should ask him for a suggestion in our nearby city so that I could get a proper expert to do it. When we finally decided to get our 3rd dd evaluated, I emailed him for a suggestion. He replied (in similar fashion) that he was sure she was fine, but suggested taking her to the local Children's Hospital since he judged the personnel there would be able to handle the evaluation well. This is the same place our pediatrician referred us to when we asked for a referral. On the one hand, I feel confident that the Pediatric NeuroPysch department at this hospital will do a good job with her. On the other hand, nothing makes me second-guess myself like an expert family member saying, "She'll be fine." Except that he sees the girls once a year, generally on their best behavior, and he's never worked with a single one of them through a day of school. So, question: Is an evaluation (for ADHD, among other things) in the 11-year-old something that needs to be done immediately, or can I wait to start the process until I get the 8-year-old in and see how things are done? (I don't know if there's a age window for working with ADHD or something.)
  11. Yes, we got an OT eval. That pediatrician (different state; we've since moved) listened to our concerns about lack of physical sensitivity and referred us immediately. I don't believe there were any other specialties/evaluations involved. I described 2nd dd's condition as "slight" because the OT did not consider it severe and it's not really noticeable in public. There are also some odd things that don't fit into the description. I didn't press about my ADHD concerns because I was under the impression that a medication prescription would be automatic and I wanted to avoid that. At present, I have no idea if that concern was valid or not. Can I ask a couple of questions? 1. What constitutes a "thorough" evaluation? Do I get to request certain tests? How do I know what to ask for? 2. What do you mean by "private?" Do you mean through some avenue other than the public school? Thanks!
  12. We've been hsing for 10 years now. I've been on and off these boards for most of that time. It's been a hard journey, and I've often wondered why. We've got three bright dd. By test score standards used by our local B&M school, our oldest is demonstrably gifted. Our second is at least on the edge, and the tests don't even address her particularly strong areas. I haven't tested our third yet, but I know that there's nothing low about her IQ. But why, when I read so many descriptions of wonderful hsing, with it's incredibly flexible schedule and the marvelous opportunities to perfectly fit the education to the child's needs, etc, do I keep having to assume that I must be failing? For us, hsing is rewarding but difficult. I often find myself exhausted after a morning of school, and those people who say that repeated tears mean a curriculum automatically isn't working would have to revamp our entire school, it seems. Why is it so hard? Why am I so lacking? Why can't I skim through the day with a hug here and an encouraging comment there like so many others seem to? These are good, generally respectful and obedient kids. It can't all be due to behavioral problems. So. How much is my fault? My teaching style? My school design? My personality? Well, there is the fact that our second was diagnosed with a slight Proprioceptive Disorder and shows signs of ADHD, though I haven't had her tested since I haven't wanted to label her. (Should we just go ahead and do it? Honest question.) And our youngest has always been a challenging child. However, it hasn't been until now, while I'm awaiting the call-back for a referral that our pediatrician very willingly put in for a neuro-psych eval for our youngest, that I've really visited this forum on the boards. Reading through your posts, I've had an epiphany. That exhaustion that comes from pushing a child all the way through to completion on a single page of handwriting, even though it takes over two hours (not including the breaks you give her to work on other things so she can rest a bit)? The stress that comes from talking a child down from near-hysterics every. single. time she comes across the distributive property in her math work over a period of weeks? Those aren't signs of failure, even though they occur on a daily basis. The fact that I've got to lean on my God in prayer through so many "routine" school mornings is not a sign of my failure. Exhaustion, stress, the felt need to curl up in a fetal position and cry during lunch - these aren't signs of failure. They're battle scars. I'm a warrior who is showing the effects of the battle I'm fighting for my girls' education. I'm not fighting my girls, you understand. I'm fighting my own impatience and goal-orientedness. I'm fighting their distractions, their hormones, and their frustration. I'm trying my best to train them to fight through their challenges and keep going. When a battle ends with work completed and a sense of success on their part, it's a victory. On those occasions when they look at me with that light bulb on and their eyes shining - well, that's the glorious moment that all teachers live for, I think. So, thank you, fellow warriors. I needed to realize (again) that failure isn't finding something difficult; it's giving up. Bless you all. Keep up the good fight!
  13. We've tried different ages. We started our oldest at age 4. She lost enthusiasm around age 6 or 7 and while we kept her in lessons for another 5 years or so, it's been a struggle. We started our middle dd at about age 6 and she lost interest around the same age. She has other challenges, though, so we adjusted how she learns (a little bit of new stuff, carefully supervised, every day instead of a lesson each week with practice on her own in between) and she's still in there working on it. Our youngest began lessons at age 7 and still seems interested one year later. (We'll see how that continues!) Our experience taught us a few things: 1. The child of a musician may or may not have a keen interest in making music, regardless of natural talent. Pushing doesn't do any good. (You'd think we would already have known that, right?) Leopold Mozart was definitely the exception rather than the rule. 2. Music lessons taught by parents are challenging because there are often more immediate things to do, which means that a child can go a couple of weeks (or more) between lessons. Also, private lessons taught by parents have the same characteristics as classes taught by parents: the teacher/parent tension. 3. Starting earlier isn't necessarily better, even if they're showing interest. It probably all depends on how you go about it, though. YMMV! :) Have fun! (Seriously!!) Mama Anna
  14. I can't tell if you're asking how we presently incorporate it into our school or if you want ideas that you could use to create a salable music curriculum. I'll try to answer on both sides. Currently: We teach each dd piano. (Dh and I are both ex-music majors, so we can do this.) When we notice that music is being played by ear instead of read, then we emphasize reading musical notation more. We've worked a bit with recorder lessons and outside-taught violin as well. I'd love to teach sight-singing, but that's a pipe-dream with both oldest dds. For Music Appreciation, we also teach composers/instruments through history a la WTM suggestions using Bellerophon coloring books. We've used the Classical Kids CDs and lots of youtube examples. The goal is recognition of a few pieces, an understanding of basic musical form, and an appreciation for musicians as living people. We've gone on to check out other cultural styles of music/instruments, as well. If I could have a simple "Music Curriculum" that would incorporate it all, what would it look like? Hmmm . . . Major composers: photos, vignettes from the life of, how their lives/styles/etc. interacted with current history/other art forms/etc. (Possibly have various levels available for this section.) At least one full work for listening, preferably one that is especially memorable for some reason. Western Instruments: videos of people playing them. Solo recordings, possibly group recordings (All four string instruments playing together, etc.) to recognize timbre. Work up to a video of an entire orchestra playing something attention-getting. (Maybe "Night on Bald Mountain" or something of equal strength?) Non-western styles: Ragas, Steel drums, Gamelan, etc. A bit of cultural background on each and a video of a piece performed. (Maybe get into music that accompanies culturally important theater in various countries?) Practicum: I second the idea of recorder. Maybe video lessons as an option for parents who can't personally read music? Get note names and values down along with time and key signatures, some basic dynamic markings, etc. Kodaly is another option for teaching young children to sing. Basically, I think a computer-driven curriculum would be best because of the ability to play audio and video. Lots of color, lots of high-quality performances - it would be awesome! HTH! Mama Anna
  15. I'll add my 2 cents into this discussion, for what they're worth. I've worked 2 daughters through age nine now and, though they have quite different personalities, they both fell apart around that age. Could it be a stage? Dd-now-14 has always been on the dramatic side. (That's an understatement, by the way.) She was fiercely jealous of her 3-year-younger sister's "lack" of work at that age and daily tears were not unusual. I would often cut down math and grammar assignments to give her a break, just making sure that she could demonstrate her knowledge of the subject. We had a deal: if she demonstrated on a few problems that she knew what she was doing, she would be done. If she made an honest mistake, she had to correct it and be able to explain it to me. If she obviously just rushed through things, I'd give her some more since she obviously needed practice. (Those few days when she got more practice were very tearful indeed.) Personality/character-wise, she's always needed a little more pushing than her sisters, so I felt comfortable with this. Now that she's 14 years old, she's only occasionally tearful and much better able to work on her own. (I still sometimes trim work for her, though. We run a pretty rigorous school and I have to be careful about overloading the girls.) Dd-now-11 was always laid back, busy, and fairly contented. Her greatest difficulty in school was the constant movement that made her fall off her chair after 5 minutes of working on her math. Around age nine, all that changed. (We think she may have undiagnosed ADHD due to the constant motion and the extreme difficulties of focus that she's displayed since.) She became easily overwhelmed, tearful, and incapable of remembering 5+5. (Seriously. Deer-in-the-headlights. No clue. Nothing.) I cut down her problems like I had her sister's, but it wasn't enough. Now, I work with her a lot. If I do a problem on a white board while she's doing it on her paper, my working with her keeps her focused. I sometimes read the grammar to her and have her write down the answers. On really bad days, I'll scribe for her or even let her do grammar orally. The point is not so much pencil-to-paper, it's knowledge-into-brain-into-practice. Note: This has really upped my time commitment to teaching. It's still frustrating at times, and some days there are still tears. (That's leaving out my youngest, who is another post.) However, I have a commitment to educate these young minds. We try to laugh as much as we can to offset the stress and homeschool isn't pure drudgery, but it isn't heaven, either. Concerning attitude, I also support the idea of waiting until a calm time and bringing up what you're hearing. It's very likely that she has no idea what she's sounding like. If the two of you can agree that the atmosphere of the home needs to change, maybe you can discuss together options for improving it. I know that such discussions in my home usually end with both me and the child coming away with one or more adjustments to make - even if mine is simply, "I will try my best to not interrupt you when you are complaining," you know? In any case, don't give up. Give her grace and remember that her body is likely doing weird things to her that she doesn't yet understand. Anything that can be made fun is awesome. In our house of girls, chocolate has turned many bad days around. Silliness, song, and dance still seem to work. HTH!! Mama Anna
  16. I'm almost all the way through R&S English with my oldest daughter; from English 3 to English 9&10, Book 1. She takes to writing/grammar like a duck to water, and the program has been good for her. I've found it very thorough, well-explained, and solid. This daughter has complained that the writing assignments expect too much moralizing by the time you get to level 7 or 8, but then all teens complain about something, right? She also outlines and writes in various other subjects, using what she's learned in R&S. The writing part of the program seems to intensify in the higher level books. As she's getting into Great Books, I'm scaling back her writing assignments from R&S this year. My second daughter has less of a love for grammar and writing. (Especially, the manual act of writing.) She's been through English 3 to English 5 and will begin English 6 this year. I've still found the thoroughness of the program to be a good thing, and often am able to adjust the grammar exercises so that she has to write a few words rather than copying long sentences. When she's working on a writing assignment from R&S, I'll often scale back her other writing to not overwhelm her. I've been very happy with R&S. We've worked into R&S 3 using the older edition of FLL (combined 1&2), so the girls have experience with copywork and dictation, as well as basic parts of speech before they get there. I'd list the pros of R&S English as thoroughness, open-and-go (depending on the student - there aren't any scripted passages for teacher involvement), and a nice mix of grammar, writing, and research skills. (Oh, and editing skills in Books 9 & 10 - those are great!) The cons would be having to decide which of the multitudinous exercises your student actually needs to do in a particular lesson, some out-dated reference skills (Few people need to know how to read a card from a library card-catalogue these days.), and a tone that can come across as "preachy" to a teen. As for whether R&S English is enough writing instruction on its own, I'll have to see. My oldest daughter is a natural writer. By the time my second daughter finishes the series, I'll have a better handle on that question . . . HTH! Marie
  17. We're trying to (more or less) do WTM-style history here. I'll have a dd13 (8th, somewhat accelerated), dd10 (5th) and dd7 (2nd) next year. As good little WTMers, we've followed the 4-year cycle and will be doing the Modern Era (1850 to Present). History is going to have to go differently than it has in past years for several reasons: Dd13 is pretty responsible and able to work on her own. In fact, I've taken advantage of this for the past several years to the extent that she has had little interaction with me about History and is finding the encyclopedia/timeline/extra reading/summary cycle pretty boring. (No! My daughter is not liking History!! How can this be happening?!? Aaaaargh!) She loved SOTW because of its narrative quality. She's not happy with moving through an encyclopedia, skimming the surfaces of various subjects, and needing to come up with thought-provoking things to write about the Acts of Enclosure, etc. My idea for change is to give her a carefully selected set of topics from World History in the Modern Era and a rubric of requirements for each (names, dates, etc.). She would then spend more than a week on each subject and hopefully be able to dig in deeply enough to find one or more narratives, resulting in not only a better understanding but also more personal enjoyment. I would keep tabs on her work on a weekly basis and she would do a written or oral report at the end of each subject. (Thoughts? Advice?) Dd10 is graduating from SOTW this year and will need to shift into the Encyclopedia/outlining/timeline/narration stage. Problem: she's nowhere near a natural writer and will need her hand held through a large part of at least this first year in Logic Stage. She is also easily distractable (not a very independent worker) and loves projects. Dd7 will be doing SOTW and will need constant interaction. She's not writing well on her own yet so that narrations will still need to be dictated for at least the first part of the year. How do I work these second two together? Due to time constraints, they're going to have to do history at the same time. I'm heroically nerving myself to cut chapters out of SOTW 4 (it'll be my first time to not "finish the book" and the thought is making me somewhat batty) in order to slow the history flow down somewhat and allow for flexibility. I can still work Dd10 into projects for SOTW 4 along with dd7. Other than that . . . ? I figured I can't be the first person on this board to face this. Does anyone have some BTDT to share? TIA!! Mama Anna
  18. I really appreciate this thread! I've thought of a loop schedule before but have always dismissed it out of hand because it hasn't made sense to me. After watching most of the video linked above, I'm back to being very intrigued. I have a question, though: How to you make sure you complete a certain curriculum if you're doing it in a loop? If the main point is to not stress about missing occasional days, how do you make sure you get in all 112 grammar lessons or the full 41 history lessons? (Is loop scheduling only for those who aren't obsessed with "finishing the book?" :sad: ) Mama Anna
  19. A thought about socializing, though it might not help for leadership opportunities: Skype? Actually, I know that some music teachers give lessons over Skype. It might work to conduct long-distance club meetings or something . . . (Just trying to brainstorm with you here!) Mama Anna
  20. Welcome! One further suggestion I'd add to the above is that you find this book or another like it and read through it. This book is specifically Christian, in case that matters. I really like it because Duffy, the author, works the reader through a lot of basic questions about education, teaching time, learning styles, etc., and then gives you a very careful review of 102 curricula. For me, especially starting out, having something like a list of "tested curricula" to choose from made the overwhelming array of choices easier to manage. (This isn't to say that you can't find good curricula outside of this book, but I'd recommend it as a place to start.) Finally, remember one of the best parts of homeschooling; if something doesn't work you can change it. You don't have a bureaucracy to go through in order to change plans mid-year. Give yourself permission to not necessarily get it all right the first time out and you may find some fears heavily reduced. God bless! Mama Anna
  21. My mom was the only other female in my household growing up and I grew up loving math. Of course, I'm from a skewed sample because my dad is a university calculus professor who didn't know how to relate to a middle-school daughter other than try to explain calculus to her. :) However, I didn't end up heading toward STEM; I chose music instead. My love for science and math does mean that our educational priorities rate them pretty high, though. (Besides, it's just so much fun to figure out how things work . . . !) Mama Anna
  22. Not learning at level due to lack of desire to cover basic skills (like math facts) - that's definitely one of my concerns about dd9. Thanks for your story! (Off to research the COGAT.) Mama Anna
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